Is it illegal to drive with red rotating emergency lights on the dashboard?


Question:

Good Morning, I’ve noted that more and more private vehicles in Mpumalanga uses red emergency lights mounted in the vehicles on the dashboards. Upon enquiring why, it was stated that the red lights are very effective when driving in fog / misty condition. The red lights shine through the mist / fog, making it possible for drivers to see ahead on the road.

My question is ” Is the use of a rotating red emergency light governed by law?” Or even… if the red light is static – in other words – it is on and shines forward from your dashboard. Is this legal?
And with regards to the use of such lights in private vehicles?

Answer:

Yes it is. Private persons may not have it on unless they are medical doctors or emergency or fire-fighting vehicles.

The vehicles have priority in traffic and the general public may not display it.

Identification lamps
Reg 176. (1) A bus or a goods vehicle, the gross vehicle mass of which exceeds 3 500 kilograms, and which is not a motor vehicle referred to in subregulation (2), (3) or (5), may be fitted above the windscreen with two or more identification lamps and each such lamp shall—
(a) not exceed a capacity of 21 Watts;
(b) be visible from directly in front of the motor vehicle to which it is fitted; and
(c) emit a green or amber light.
(2) An ambulance, fire-fighting or rescue vehicle may be fitted with a lamp or lamps emitting an intermittently-flashing red light in any direction.
(3) (a) Subject to paragraph (b), no person shall operate a motor vehicle fitted with, or in or on which is displayed, a lamp or lamps emitting a blue light or capable of emitting a blue light.
(b) The provisions of paragraph (a) does not apply to a motor vehicle operated by a member of the Service or a member of a municipal police service, both as defined in section 1 of the South African Police Service Act, 1995 (Act No. 68 of 1995), or a traffic officer, or a member of the South African Defence Force authorised in terms of section 87(1)(g) of the Defence Act, 1957 (Act No. 44 of 1957) to perform police functions, in the execution of his or her duties.
(c) A motor vehicle referred to in paragraph (b) may be fitted with a lamp or lamps emitting an intermittently-flashing—
(i) blue light;
(ii) blue and amber light;
(iii) blue and red light; or
(iv) blue, amber and red light,
in any direction which may, at the will of the driver, display the word “stop”.
(4) A motor vehicle which is—
(a) a vehicle employed in connection with the maintenance of public road;
(b) engaged in the distribution and supply of electricity;
(c) engaged in the supply of other essential public services;
(d) operated in terms of the authority granted by the MEC in terms of section 81 of the Act;
(e) a breakdown vehicle;
(f) a refuse compactor vehicle;
(g) a vehicle carrying an abnormal load and the vehicle escorting it if any,
may, but a breakdown vehicle shall, be fitted with a lamp or lamps capable of emitting an intermittently-flashing amber light in any direction: Provided that such lamp shall only be used at the place where the breakdown occurred, where the maintenance or other work or an inspection is being carried out, when such breakdown vehicle is towing a motor vehicle, or in the event of a vehicle carrying an abnormal load.
(5) A motor vehicle used by a medical practitioner may be fitted above the windscreen with one lamp emitting an intermittently flashing red light in any direction: Provided that such light may only be used by such medical practitioner in the bona fide exercise of his or her profession.
(6) A vehicle driven by a person while he or she is engaged in civil protection as contemplated in section 3 of the Civil Protection Act, 1977 (Act No. 67 of 1977), may be fitted with a lamp or lamps emitting an intermittently-flashing green light in any direction.
(7) A vehicle—
(a) owned by a body or person registered as a security officer in terms of the Security Officers Act, 1987 (Act No. 92 of 1987); and
(b) driven by a security officer as defined in section 1 of the said Act in the course of rendering a security service, also defined in section 1 of the said Act,
may be fitted with a white lens bar containing a lamp or lamps emitting an intermittently- flashing diffused white light in any direction, and containing a notice illuminated by a white light containing the word “security” and the name of the owner of the vehicle in black letters: Provided that the said lamp or lamps shall not be capable of emitting a rotating or strobe light.

Regards

Alta

Alta Swanepoel and Associates

2 thoughts on “Is it illegal to drive with red rotating emergency lights on the dashboard?

  • August 16, 2013 at 10:12 am
    Permalink

    Hi alta i just want to know something i was trying to manufacture the LED lights to be fitted on the taxi windscreen for the information. because what happen is ,i was in johannesburg looking for my destination taxi but no one knew where they pack.
    so i was thinking if i can put information light on top inside windscreen is that will be fine.just to help people not to get lost.
    i will realy apriciate if you can come back to me asap, because just started this project.

    Kind Regards

    Goodman Vusi Faaltyn
    my contact no. is 0847635578

  • March 24, 2014 at 1:39 pm
    Permalink

    Hi.

    I want to ask who is RSA uses green lights as their identification lamps.

    Thank you.

Comments are closed.

Pin It on Pinterest